Uptempo game plan works for Cougars

North Warren 42,

Salem 34

CHESTERTOWN - Despite an offensive show by hot-shooting Salem opponent Austin Eastman and his team's tight defense inside, North Warren combined smart shooting at critical times and a tough defense of their own to defeat the Generals 42-34 on Jan. 15.

Cougar Coach Jason Humiston said his players were executing plays well after sharpening their skills.

"We're rebounding better, eliminating second and third chances for our opponents to take a shot," he said. "Travis Monroe and Benn Frasier are both doing well on the boards now."

The Cougars double- and triple-teamed six-foot-seven Eastman inside, disrupting the Generals game plan.

Cougar point guard Jeff Bennett provided an example of how well the Cougars played on both sides of the ball, as he scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Salem had a rally in the third quarter putting them in reach of winning, but the Cougars hung on to their lead, demonstrating their offensive versatility.

When the going got tough, Cougar players rose to the challenge. They set a lot of half-court traps, pressuring the General Guards to commit a lot of turnovers, Humiston said.

"We pushed the tempo, and our game plan worked," he said.

When Salem pressured the Cougars inside, they responded by taking shots from downtown. Jeff Bennett hit two three-pointers, and Joe Aiken and Bryan Beckler hit one each in the crowd-pleaser.

Kristian Seeley and Bennett each hit foul shots with under a minute left to secure the victory.

Assisting Bennett in the successful campaign were Monroe and Seeley with eight points each, Aiken and Beckler with five each and Frasier with two.

Austin Eastman's game-high 22 points led Salem.

Lake George 62,

Fort Ann 42

LAKE GEORGE - Rebounding from a bitter one-point loss to Corinth two days earlier, Matt McGowan hit 28 points Jan 15, propelling Lake George past tough contender Fort Ann in front of a home-court crowd.

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